England football team captain Harry Kane has blamed poor defence for their 2-3 defeat to France in their international friendly here.

France beat England despite being reduced to 10 men in the second half with Osmane Dembele scoring the decisive goal late in the game.

"Scoring twice in France should be enough. We have got to find a way to win that. We just weren't good enough. They were getting too much space in vital areas, even with 10 men," Kane told the British media after Tuesday night's game. 

"We want to be brave and play from the back and mistakes will happen. It's disappointing. We were in the driver's seat but we didn't step it up another gear. Not good enough," he added.

In their last four competitive games, England have won only once — against minnows Lithuiania — drawn once and have been beaten twice by Germany and France. 

"We've been competitive in all three games for long periods of time. But I think we've had to play at our absolute limit to stay in all three of the matches, which has shown in the latter stages of those games. The three games have provided a different test," Kane said.

"With Spain it was their ability to keep the ball better than us, and we were chasing, chasing, chasing. Today we kept the ball better than France at times but, physically, the demands their players impose on you meant we had problems and that led to tiredness, which is one of the reasons for the mistake for the third goal." 

"Those teams are the best. In the last few years we've not got anywhere near those teams when it's come to tournaments and finals, so that's why we need to play them. We need to see the reality of where we are, to test yourself against the best, so you don't mask where you are in terms of a team," he added.

England manager Gareth Southgate, appointed following the abrupt end to previous incumbent Sam Allardyce's 67-day reign, has done reasonably well, with England currently topping their group table for the World Cup qualifiers.

Although qualification for the 2018 World Cup is almost given, the recent defeats have thrown some questions top ponder for Southgate which need to be resolved before England head to Russia for international football's showpiece event next year.

The remaining four matches in the qualifiers should be used to iron out the chinks in the armour if England have to retain any realistic hopes of finally rising above expectations at the World Cup